We’ve probably all been there, especially in our teens and early 20s – Office Space Romance, an illicit meeting at the photocopier or shared signals during a meeting.
Office or coworkers romance can be exciting, but they can also be bad for your career. And not just your career, but the person’s your dating too.
In a survey, the US magazine Psychology Today produced figures that showed 41% of employees in the 25-40 age bracket have been involved in an office romance. And that figure doesn’t appear to be reducing – quite the opposite in fact.
One of the main reasons why it’s not a good idea to date within the office is that offices and work environments come with hierarchies. Date your boss or someone ‘lower’ in rank than you and the gossip starts, the office environment changes and charges of favouritism and favours abound.
Other reasons why a romance with a co-worker is bad for business
Your professionalism could be challenged. Bosses may begin to believe that your mind isn’t totally on your work and as a result you’re not performing as well as you could.
Other co-workers may feel awkward. There’s a special relationship there that they aren’t part of. It may make your relationship with them more difficult too, especially if you’re dating a boss – they’re obviously going to be less willing to share office gossip and other personal matters with you fearing it may get back to your significant other.
You could get moved. Some companies frown on office romances and actively discourage it. If it’s discovered you’re dating someone within the same section one of you may be relocated elsewhere within the organisation.
What happens if you split up? Things could get awkward, especially if you work closely together and the break hasn’t been amicable. Then there’s the question of co-workers taking sides which can start getting nasty for everyone involved.
It can create jealously amongst co-workers. We’ve already touched on allegations of favouritism but even if that’s not in evidence there is still a perception that you’ll be treated differently
It’s not surprising that romances with co-workers occur. After all, the office or at work is where we spend the majority of our days. And if you’ve a tough, demanding job then you’re not necessary going to have the time or inclination to socialise outwith the office, especially during week nights.
Working for the same company or in a similar line of business you both have a shared environment there already so it’s easy to fall into a romantic scenario with workmates to discuss.
One of the main reasons companies these days frown on office romances is because of the legal aspect. Allegations of sexual harassment can be very costly to an organisation with industrial tribunals commonplace. Your romance may start out very rosy but it can easily become nasty when it all goes wrong and the last place you want to play that scenario out is in the office.
If you’re in the midst of an office romance or just wondering whether you should embark on one, we’d recommend you take a look at the website safeworkers.co.uk before you make any big decisions.